Pegboard and Prone

[Image descriptions:
One shows the setup: on the floor, there is a blue-and-red gym mat. On the mat is a 10×10 foam pegboard. There are green, yellow, orange, red, and blue pegs sorted into different buckets and off on the side. To the left and right of the pegboard are two beanbags. There is an instructions sheet in the background, but it’s too small and blurry to read.

In the second image, the instructions sheet is up close so it can be read. It says, “Each person chooses a color. Lay on your tummy on the beanbag. Say ready, set, go! Now you race to put as many pegs in as fast as you can! When the board is full, whoever has the most, wins!” End descriptions.]

In my old therapy gym, I had my big foam pegboard and pegs just set out as one of the free play stations in the room. Sometimes kids would go over and put a few pegs in, but honestly, a pegboard is not super exciting or fun on its own. (Which is fair. It’s not a therapy tool that I specifically sought out, but one I simply inherited.)

I was trying to think about what I could do with it that would make it even slightly interesting. I came up with an idea to work on fine motor skills while also working on core strengthening and whole arm movements as well, since I know that core strength and big arm movements support the fine motor skills.

The child lies on their belly on a beanbag, and I lie on mine on the other beanbag. We each choose a color of pegs (pre-separated out into different bins) and then race to put as many pegs into the pegboard as possible. When the pegboard is totally full, whoever got more pegs into it is the winner! Whoever’s color takes up the majority of the board.

I am not one of those people who has lots of negative feelings about technology—but I can make the observation that, with the advent and ubiquity of personal technology devices, in addition to the amount of deskwork and tabletop work that children are expected to sit and do all day long, and even starting from infancy with containers that children are placed in either for their safety or for convenience…there are lots and lots and LOTS of factors in our everyday life (kids and adults) that cause our posture to curl downward/inward, with our necks and heads pointed down and our spines curved down like that.

Working in a tummy-lying position and having to push up while still reaching in front of us and doing something with our limbs is a really important stretching, strengthening exercise. Obviously one little game can’t combat all of the other factors, but every little bit of strengthening is important.

I have one yoga ball at this therapy gym, and another is located at a different school. I’m thinking about upping the ante by bringing in the other yoga ball so that the child and I can try lying on our bellies on the yoga ball and then having to maintain balance while trying to reach forward and move the pegs! I think it’ll be challenging but it’s good for our bodies and muscles to have a challenge!